Psalm 146

Dear Reader,

I picked this psalm because we recently heard a sermon on it and also because it is one we used to love to sing in the old psalter. We called it “the Jehovah psalm.” And while I don’t really approve of the translation of the Lord’s name as “Jehovah” and am overall glad the new psalter got rid of all the Jehovahs, I still miss the old 146A.

Here is my translation:

 1 Praise the LORD
2 Praise, my soul, the LORD
3 I will praise the LORD in my life
4 I will sing to my God while I still am
5 Do not trust in princes
6 In the son of man in whom there is no help
7 His breath goes out

8 It returns to the ground
9 On that day his deeds perish
10 Happy is the one whose help [is] the God of Jacob
11 His hope [is] in the LORD his God
12 The Maker of heaven and earth
13 The sea and all that is in them
14 The Keeper of truth forever
15 He does justice to the oppressed
16 He gives bread to the hungry
17 The LORD frees prisoners
18 The LORD opens the eyes of the blind
19 The LORD raises up the humble
20 The LORD loves the righteous
21 The LORD keeps the sojourner
22 The orphan and widow he restores
23 But the way of the wicked he will distort
24 The LORD will reign forever
25 Your God, Zion, from generation to generation
26 Praise the LORD

The first thing I heard from one of the kids on this psalm is that it reminded them of another psalm. Psalm 150 they observed also beings and end with “praise the LORD.” That sermon we had heard recently pointed out that the last psalms in the psalter are all about praising God, though all have different emphases.

We had some disagreement on exact parallels, but this is what we came up with for parallel lines in Psalm 146:  1 and 2 are parallel;then 3 and 4;5 and 6;7, 8 and 9 go together; 10 and 11; 12, 13 and 14 (we debated these some; my conclusion was that 13 parallels the second half of 12 and 14 parallels its first half); 15 and 16; 17 through 21; 22 and 23 (these two are a parallel of opposites); and 24 and 25. Line 26 stands by itself but repeats the first line.

One child looked at how many times “LORD” appears. It is 11 total, 3 times at the beginning, 2 at the end, 5 in the middle and once more in line 11. There is obviously a lot about what God does in this psalm.

Another child looked at who does what. The psalmist will praise and sing. We, the audience, are called to praise, don’t trust, and praise. The princes and people have their breath go out and their deeds perish. And lastly but not leastly, God is maker and keeper. He does justice, gives bread, frees, opens, raises up, loves, keeps, restores, will distort, and will reign.

The big sections we saw in this psalm are:

lines 1-4 praise

5-9 bad people

10-23 what God does

24-26 praise

So we see that it begins and ends with praise, but that the heart of psalm, its middle part and its longest section, are about what God does.

That’s really all we had for this psalm. If you study it, I’d love to hear your observations.


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